Football in Parkes is in very good hands, with two of our top coaches recently awarded a Football NSW Female Coaching Scholarship.
Parkes Cobras coach Meaghan Kempson will be undertaking a B-Licence course while Parkes and District Amateur Soccer Association's (PDASA) Angela Bottaro-Porter has already begun her C-Licence course.
The B-Licence is for coaches of Top Amateur, Elite Youth and State Teams and is run by Football Federation Australia (FFA) in Sydney, while the C-Licence is for coaches currently within or looking to be involved with an advanced player regional pathway.
Designed to provide greater access for female coaches to obtain advanced coaching qualifications, the scholarships provide financial support, access to mentors and ongoing support via the Female Coaches Network.
Football NSW technical director, Warren Grieves, said the scholarships were vital for the growth of female coaches.
"After an extensive application process and with an overwhelming number of expressions of interest, we are extremely happy to announce the successful applicants", he said.
"Coach Development remains a high priority for Football NSW and in particular supporting the growth of female coaches.
"The scholarship program allows us to support the coaches not just in the formal setting but also within the coaches' own environments," said Grieves.
Football NSW's head of women's and cchools football, Hayley Todd, said the organisation was very keen to ensure female coaches get as many opportunities as possible.
"Whilst football tops the list as the participation sport of choice for girls, females are significantly underrepresented as coaches," she said.
"We are excited to be able to support the scholarship recipients as they take the next step in their coaching journey.
"We would like to congratulate the successful applicants and look forward to working with all of them in the new year," said Todd.
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The passion for football in Parkes just oozes out in spades every time you talk to Bottaro-Porter, and she said the opportunity to undertake the course was a massive one.
"The course goes over three weekends in Bathurst, I've already done one and will finish the next two in the coming months," she said.
"They've paid for the course and the accomodation in Bathurst which is amazing - it is just too much to keep driving back and forth from Parkes on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
"There's about 20 of us in the Bathurst group and six or seven are females, so it's great to have some female representation.
"I've been told as part of the scholarship I'll also be entitled to a mentor, which will be awesome," said Bottaro-Porter.
The PDASA do a brilliant job of encouraging women and girls to play football in Parkes, but Bottaro-Porter said they aren't done yet.
The association will shortly be running an academy to ensure the town remains on that upward trajectory.
"Meaghan (Kempson) and I are looking to get the Parkes Soccer Academy for Girls (PSA4G) off the ground on March 14," she said.
"We'll have two different sessions, the first will be a come and try sort of afternoon for the five to eight year olds to increase and encourage participation, then Meaghan will run a skills aquisition session for the nine to 14 year olds.
"Being part of soccer for 45 years or so, I've always been coached by males, so we're looking at getting some of the older girls to come down and mentor the little ones too.
"If we don't have girls playing in our grassroots and women's competition, then we won't have anyone to pick from when we get the girls Western Youth League side off the ground.
"I want to be an active coach too, not just someone who stands at the sidelines so I've also applied for a Level 1 Goalkeeping course which is a full, intensive week and will give me some great skills," said Bottaro-Porter.
Kempson, who is no stranger to readers of the Parkes Champion Post, said the support of Football NSW was vital to ensuring the coaching licences are accessible to regional participants in particular.
"The B-Licence course is run by the FFA, but the scholarship was awarded by FootballNSW, and given the pretty significant expense, it's a massive help," said Kempson.
"It's $2500, so these scholarships make the courses much more accessible to people from regional NSW in particular.
"I was about to do my course before COVID hit last year and cancelled it, but in hindsight, it was a blessing to not be able to do it last year because this way it is funded," said Kempson.
Kempson, who has guided the Cobras brilliantly in their first two years in the Western Premier League, is keen to continue to upskill a few specific aspects of football.
"I'll be looking to really expand knowledge of tactical aspect of the game," she said.
"Fundamentals of the game and structural aspects I can of course always improve in, but I'm pretty confident about - but the tactical part of the game and coaching philosophies I'm really keen to learn more about at the course."
You can't be what you can't see - so thankfully for women and girls in Parkes there are two fantastic role models to aspire to.
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